Hyundai, Kia and Subaru Debut New Electric SUVs at Los Angeles Auto Show
The Los Angeles Auto Show have set the tone for what will guide the automotive industry into the next decade. With mandates to sell only electrified vehicles in several places around the world, the tone of this show will be on the next wave of vehicles vying for your attention.
The theme of this show revolves around the next wave of electrified vehicles to meet these mandates before they take effect. There, we witnessed debuts of new EVs from Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, and a host of start-up manufacturers trying to nudge their way into the marketplace.
It came as no surprise that Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru would introduce all-electric SUVs in Los Angeles. The combination of the push towards complete electrification of their lineups along with meeting consumer demand for SUVs and crossovers certainly set the stage for these debuts.
Hyundai brought out the SEVEN Concept as a mid-size SUV compliment to the IONIQ5. This vehicle looked far from a production vehicle, but it would spotlight many of the new technologies Hyundai will be introducing under IONIQ sub-brand.
The focus on the concept is not just about a future mid-sized EV SUV. It is about merging lifestyle with practicality and utility. The concept is built on the E-GMP platform developed to underpin a generation of battery-electric vehicles. This is a flexible platform that will be used for several SUVs across all three brands controlled by Hyundai and Kia. Inside of its Pillarless Coach Doors is an interior featuring furniture-style seating emphasizing a lounge-like cabin for the passengers. This is a sign that the SEVEN Concept is also being developed for autonomous driving.
The SEVEN Concept also features what Hyundai calls “hygienically focused functions” along with the use of sustainable materials and innovations creating space in a cabin that sits on top of the longest wheelbase of any Hyundai vehicle ever developed.
At Kia, they unveiled the Concept EV9 SUV. Along with the EV6, Kia’s electric strategy is based on the same corporate E-GMP platform. However, Kia took a different approach to the Concept EV9 to emphasize a more traditional SUV design inside and out, while adding Coach Doors similar to Hyundai’s SEVEN Concept.
The Concept EV9 features a lot of Kia’s own design approach called “Opposites United.” That starts with digitizing the brand’s Tiger Face and crafting an interior with a 27-inch information screen that incorporates infotainment and climate controls. While designed as a traditional SUV, the interior can be set up in three “modes” that enables the seating and overall cabin environment to change when the vehicle is moving or parked.
Before the auto show, Subaru teased us with the 2023 Solterra as their first fully battery-electric vehicle. We finally got to see the production-ready vehicle that is set to arrive in 2022.
The compact SUV coincides with Toyota’s bZ4X, which they share basic architecture and drive technology. Subaru made sure to incorporate a standard all-wheel drive system to match the capabilities of their core product lineup. The ground clearance is set for 8.3-inches, just shy of Subaru’s standard ride height, while adding X-Mode for greater capability on and off the road.
Subaru estimates that its maximum battery range will be around 220 miles. It can be plugged into a DC Fast Charging unit that will recharge the battery to 80% in under an hour.
By next year, the Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X will join the ranks of other electric SUV/crossovers from other legacy manufacturers, such as the Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Mazda MX-30, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Hyundai Kona EV, and Kia Niro EV. We also anticipate the arrival of the Nissan Ariya sometime soon.
We can anticipate production versions of the Hyundai SEVEN Concept and Kia Concept EV9 by mid-decade.
With the challenge of start-up automakers to double-down on electric vehicles, the legacy automakers are simply not playing catch-up to match the newer players in this industry. They might be setting the pace with the advantage of experience in the marketplace. However, between legacy and start-up manufacturers, you get the spoils of choice when it comes to your next electric vehicle.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors